Shanghai to get space base
China has begun work on a new space center in Shanghai as part of efforts to extend development and technological knowhow to its most important economic city, state press reported yesterday. The 1.3-billion-yuan (US$160 million) base will test and produce booster rockets, manned space craft and satellite aerial defense weaponry, Xinhua news agency quoted officials from the Shanghai Space Bureau as saying. Many space and aviation related groups around Shanghai will be moved to the base, which will cover around 75 hectares by the end of 2010.
Monks sign up for MBAs
Call it Zen and the art of business management. Proving that in China's booming commercial hub of Shanghai, even Buddhism is big business, a group of 18 Buddhist monks and lay people are taking MBA classes to better manage their temple, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. The half-year course specially designed by Shanghai's Jiaotong University teaches temple management and corporate strategy, along with marketing religious articles. Monks will also be picking up tips on how to get ahead in business from Sun Tzu's The Art of War, the report said.
Doll thief sentenced
For months last year, a man ravaged shops and restaurants in central Japan, assaulting employees and making away with life-sized figurines of a plump fictional character called "Peko-chan." Yesterday, Hiroyuki Cho, 39, was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison for ordering the thefts of the dolls worth ?1.2 million (US$10,900). In May, Cho's partner, Tetsuji Shibuya, was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in jail for the theft of the 15 dolls. The two were charged with robbery resulting in bodily injury. Cho and Shibuya belonged to a national crime ring selling stolen dolls to avid collectors willing to pay top yen.
■ Hong Kong
Woman mystifies police
She appeared from nowhere on a rain-tossed morning, sitting naked on a Hong Kong shoreline, unable to speak. Now the search is on for the identity of the mystery woman, police said yesterday. The Westerner, believed to be aged between 35 and 45, was discovered on Friday on the rocky shore of an abandoned harborside airport runway. Government officials said she had been seen earlier wandering nearby streets. Although the pale and gaunt woman has been kept under observation in one of the Chinese territory's hospitals, she has yet to speak or write her name. "She failed to respond or say a word when out officers or interpreters tried to speak to her," chief inspector Victor Ng was quoted as saying in the South China Morning Post.
Strange contraband seized
Lamb chops, steak and rice cookers were among packages of contraband intercepted by prison authorities in a recent crackdown, an official said on Tuesday. New South Wales state Corrective Services Commander of Security Investigations Brian Kelly said he didn't see the need for visitors sneaking in food or cooking gear for inmates. "Prison food is not that bad," he said. One of the strangest packages of contraband found by officers contained nine lamb chops and a kilogram of steak, Kelly said, adding that it had been thrown into a prison in Parramatta, a western suburb of Sydney.
Michael Jackson writes song
Michael Jackson has written a song to help raise funds for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and will soon record it. Tentatively titled From the Bottom of My Heart, the singer plans to ask other musicians to join him in recording it, his spokeswoman, Raymone Bain, said on Tuesday. Jackson hopes to record the song within two weeks in the style of We Are the World, which he co-wrote and produced in 1985 to raise money for famine relief efforts in Africa. "It pains me to watch the human suffering taking place in the gulf region of my country," Jackson, 47, said in a statement. "I will be reaching out to others within the music industry to join me in helping to bring relief and hope to these resilient people who have lost everything." Jackson has been mostly reclusive since he was acquitted of child molestation charges in California on June 13. He has been spending much of his time in Bahrain as the guest of Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, whose label, 2 Seas Records, will produce the single.